IT: Merchandise Trade

Thu Sep 17 03:00:00 CDT 2015

Actual Previous
Level E3.7B E2.6B

The seasonally adjusted trade balance was in a E3.7 billion surplus in July, up from an unrevised E2.6 billion excess in June.

However, the headline improvement masked contractions in both sides of the balance sheet. Hence, exports fell 0.4 percent on the month, their third decline since March but only due to weakness in energy (ex-energy exports grew 0.4 percent). Imports were off a steeper 3.7 percent (minus 4.0 percent ex-energy). Compared with a year ago, exports were up 6.3 percent after a 9.4 percent rise in June and imports 4.2 percent higher following a 12.2 percent gain last time.

The July black ink was more than 6 percent above its average level in the second quarter. This suggests that net exports could provide a boost to real GDP this quarter having been a drag in the previous period.

Merchandise trade balance measures the difference between imports and exports of both tangible goods and services. The level of the international trade balance, as well as changes in exports and imports, indicate trends in foreign trade. The goods balance is the main market focus.

Changes in the level of imports and exports, along with the difference between the two (the trade balance) are a valuable gauge of economic trends here and abroad. While these trade figures can directly impact all financial markets, they primarily affect currency values in foreign exchange markets.

Separate reports are published for external and internal EU trade. The extra-EU trade data are compiled on the basis of customs declarations with non-EU countries. The intra-EU trade data (Intrastat) are derived from surveys and provide statistics on trade between Italy and other EU member states. The data are available monthly. World trade data are available within one month after the reference month while intra-EU trade data are available within 7 weeks after the reference month.